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Many pet owners ask their veterinarians, “How can I tell if my pet is stressed?” 

Your pet develops its own way of communicating with you. By understanding these communication methods, noticing certain symptoms when they appear, and considering why your pet may feel stressed, you can better tell if your pet is struggling.

Penny Paws Animal Clinic is the go-to place for your pet’s medical needs in Texas. Whether your pet shows signs of anxiety or new, unusual behaviors, our experienced professionals have the knowledge and skill to diagnose the issue. Let us assist you in solving your pet’s stress problems.

Understanding Stress in Dogs

How can you tell if your pet is stressed? Dogs communicate through body language.

Dogs typically don’t bite or attack without a clear warning. However, discouraging your dog from warning others when uncomfortable can decrease their likelihood of showing critical warning signs in the future.

Many stress indicators in dogs manifest as excessive regular behaviors. Such behaviors include whining, barking, panting, and growling. Nonetheless, signs of stress in dogs can be subtle, so it’s essential to remain observant.

Stress Symptoms in Dogs

For dog owners wondering, “How can you tell if your pet is stressed?”, pay attention if your dog exhibits the following behaviors. It’s essential to consider the events occurring when your dog shows stress symptoms. Some signs are easily mistaken for overstimulation or other causes.

  • Growling: As one of the main precursors to a dog bite or attack, it’s necessary to heed this warning. Your dog may feel threatened, anxious, or fearful. Give your dog more space if they growl at you, and don’t punish them for communicating in this way.
  • Whining: Whining and barking are common signs of stress in an environment. Whining indicates anxiety, while barking is a sign of further stress. These seemingly automatic behaviors may exist to alert you or help them cope with a stressful situation.
  • Tail and ear tucking: Body language like tail and ear tucking indicate your pet is afraid. These behaviors make your dog seem smaller and more submissive in threatening circumstances.
  • Pacing: Nervous energy can contribute to pacing in dogs. Stressful situations keep them from calming down. Older dogs that frequently pace may have dementia, making this symptom one to consider talking to your vet about.
  • Sensitivity to loud noises: Your dog may scare easily or hide under or behind things during thunderstorms, fireworks, or other loud events. Shouting and fighting may also raise their stress level.
  • Yawning: While yawning can indicate sleepiness in dogs, an extended yawn is a sign of stress.
  • Avoiding eye contact: Your dog may feel uncomfortable and distrustful in a stressful situation, avoiding eye contact. They may also reveal the whites of their eyes.
  • Freezing: Freezing is another response similar to fight or flight. It’s a form of submission in some cases, while it indicates extreme stress in other situations. When your dog cannot mentally handle the event, they’ll freeze and shut down.

Understanding Stress in Cats

Cat owners wondering “How can you tell if your pet is stressed?” may have difficulty noticing stress symptoms in their feline. Cats instinctually hide indicators that they are stressed or in pain. Anxious behaviors include excessive grooming and meowing, pacing, appetite decreases, and hiding.

Cats become stressed very quickly and exhibit symptoms immediately. New behaviors are some of the most prominent indicators that your cat is stressed.

Look out for your cat scratching furniture instead of their scratching post, hiding, and significant shifts in their confidence level. Such behavioral changes often mean something is awry. 

Common causes of stress in cats include other cats in the home, placing your cat’s belongings in busy areas, and guests visiting.

Signs of a Stressed Cat

Cats show many similar signs as dogs when stressed while displaying stress symptoms unique to their species. Vocalization and excessive or decreased normal behaviors are the most common indicators.

  • Decreased hunger and thirst
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hiding more than normal
  • Growling or hissing
  • Using the litter box less frequently or avoiding it altogether
  • Excessive meowing or scratching at furniture
  • Overeating
  • Decreased patience when handled

Stressed cats also show discomfort in their face. A stressed cat will flatten their ears or body and try to hide or get to higher ground. In addition, their eyes may widen, and their whiskers will point forward in alertness.

Understanding your cat’s emotions in response to pain or household changes can help you pinpoint the cause of their stress.

How to Calm a Stressed Pet

Besides “How can you tell if your pet is stressed?”, it’s also vital to understand how to calm them. Dog owners should consider their behaviors as dogs can become more stressed with direct eye contact and unnecessary punishments. If something is wrong in your household, your dog will pick up on your stressed or negative emotions.

Determining your dog’s stress triggers and developing ways to combat them is vital in dealing with their issues. Professionals can help you successfully eliminate triggers or work around them.

Feline behaviorists can help you determine the cause of your cat’s stress and create a plan to prevent or avoid stressful situations. Installing pheromone diffusers can also calm your pet when combined with other solutions.

Whether you have a dog or cat, providing them with ample mental stimulation can ease stress and anxious behaviors. Ensuring they aren’t in pain, are getting adequate sustenance, and have a calm environment is critical.

Work with Penny Paws Animal Clinic for Help with Your Stressed Pets

With consistent treatment, you can manage your pet’s stress. If you’re still wondering “How can you tell if your pet is stressed?”, the Penny Paws team can help. We are experts at determining the source of your pet’s stress.

Our team can help alleviate your pet’s stress levels, whether they’re due to new changes in the household or health issues. For more information, call the Penny Paws Animal Clinic nearest you today.